Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Atmospheric General Circulation Models
GENERAL CIRCULATION MODELS of the atmosphere are computer-driven mathematical models that aim to represent the numerous actions within the atmosphere of the entire world and its interactions with the surface of the Earth. Initially intended to improve understanding of the movements of the atmosphere, with a view to predicting weather phenomena and preparing for adverse weather, circulation models have since provided further understanding of the impact of atmospheric warming and its implications for all forms of life on the Earth. The atmosphere is an extraordinarily complex system—or set of systems—and modeling its actions is far beyond the ability of any single human brain. Indeed, its complexity is such that it even defeats the intuitive nature of the brain because second, third, and higher-order effects are, if not unimaginable, then at least incalculable. However, appreciating that level of sophistication and complexity was not possible until the expanded observations of the atmosphere ...